Hugest welcome to Vivian French who is joining My Book Corner as part of her tour arranged by the Scottish Book Trust. She is here to share her Top Ten Evil Characters … the characters we love to hate.
No 1? Just too creepy!! Is yours amongst Vivian’s selection?
My top ten Evil Characters …
10. Mr McGregor in Peter Rabbit. Well, perhaps it should be Mrs McGregor. She baked Peter’s dad in a PIE, for heaven’s sake!
9. The troll, in Adam Stower’s picture book Troll and the Oliver. A great introduction to the darker side of life for small children … there’s a brilliant surprise that genuinely made both me and my grandson jump.
8. Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. For my money, they even beat Miss Trunchbull (Matilda) for the hideous way in which they treat a child.
7. Cruella de Vil. A coat made out of puppy fur? Even her name has EVIL in it … Dodie Smith invented one of the uber villains of all time in One Hundred and One Dalmations.
6. I feel bad about mentioning Thaddeus Valentine. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, is an amazing post apocalyptic story – and when you first meet Thaddeus you think, Wow! What a hero! But (spoiler alert! hence my guilt) a hero he is not …
5. One of my favourite books of all time is The Princess Bride, by William Goldman, so I have to list Vizzini, the Sicilian crime boss who kidnaps Buttercup and eventually tries to trick Westley in a fast moving battle of wits.
4. The wolf in Red Riding Hood. Whichever version you read, that wolf is one evil character. I was brought up on the unadulterated Grimm version where he truly gets his comeuppance; I’m not at all convinced by the ‘wolf as reformed character’ style that’s sometimes offered these days.
3. Derek Landy’s character China Sorrows (one of the best names in literature) is cold, calculating, and utterly ruthless. You’ll find her in Skulduggery Pleasant.
2. Long John Silver from Treasure Island is a regular on lists of fictional villains, but for me the really evil character is Blind Pugh. There’s something dreadfully haunting about the tap! tap! tap! of his stick … and the transference of the Black Spot.
1. My number one top Evil Character gave me nightmares as a child, and even now I sometimes wake up with my heart pounding. It’s the Long Legged Scissor Man from Strewwelpeter. If children suck their thumbs he comes striding in (horrible long spidery legs!) with a huge pair of scissors, and chops their thumbs off. I wasn’t even a thumb sucker and it scared me silly. What on earth did it do to those who did?
Vivian French will be visiting primary schools in and around Birmingham this month as part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour organised by Scottish Book Trust. She has written over 200 children’s books including the hugely popular Tiara Club and Tales from the Five Kingdoms series as well as non-fiction books such as Caterpillar Butterfly and Growing Frogs